13 games passed by without Brock Boeser scoring a goal.
Then, along came Bruce Boudreau.
During his first media availability, Boudreau reminisced about coaching against Boeser and how he wanted to build some confidence in the 24-year-old sniper.
“All I was telling Brock was that ‘every time you played against us, you scored and you were shooting’,” said Boudreau. “Let’s get back to shooting. That’s what I want to see. I think if he scores a goal, his confidence is going to come back, but it all starts with shooting the puck if you’re a shooter. Let’s shoot the puck. Let’s not try to be cute.”
Boeser did exactly that on Monday night when he fired a shot on the power play that Drew Doughty kicked in his own net. It was the perfect example of not being cute with a shot and just looking to shoot as much as possible. It resulted in Boeser breaking his goalless drought and giving the Canucks an early lead against the Los Angeles Kings.
Boudreau made an effort to speak with Boeser at the team’s first skate on Monday and Boeser appreciated the advice from the veteran coach. Boudreau wanted Boeser to shoot the puck more and trust in his shot to do the work.
“When I shoot the puck, I gain confidence,” said Boeser in Monday’s post-game. “He’s a really smart hockey coach and that was pretty much the conversation, he told me not to pass and shoot as many pucks as I could. It’s funny how this game works. I felt like I had some pretty good chances, hit posts and crossbars and then that’s the one that goes in. It’s crazy how this game works but you know, at the end of the day, it went in the net and I’ll take it. I just have to continue to build and keep shooting the puck and continue to produce for this team.”
After scoring the slump buster goal, Boeser went to work on Wednesday, attempting eight shots on net — the highest amount of attempts in the last month.
Once again, Boeser was rewarded. He may not have taken a shot on his second goal in as many games but when you are shooting the puck and feeling confident, pucks tend to find the back of the net.
It’s clear that Boeser’s confidence has not been as high this season as it had in past years. When he is feeling himself, you can see it in his release. A new coach with this type of confidence-building skill is perfect for Boeser. Boudreau believes in Boeser and he wants Boeser to believe in himself as well.
This type of positive reinforcement will help raise all ships as Boudreau hopes that added ice time and requesting more shots will help all of his stars get going.
“Goal scorers do that, we’ve seen them all,” said Boudreau. “They can go 10 games without a goal, then score 10 goals in seven games and that’s what they do. Brock is starting to gain his confidence a little bit but I’d still like him to shoot more. It’s some little baby steps. If he continues to get a couple of them, hopefully, Petey can start doing the same thing. Get his confidence a little bit up in the goalscoring department. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
The hope is that the immediate success for Boeser is contagious and will seep into players like Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson. Boudreau is going to trust in his young stars and put them in a position to have success. The best part about that last quote from Boudreau is that he wants Boeser to shoot even more. That was in the post-game media availability after Boeser had eight shot attempts.
Boudreau is pushing all the right buttons right now and the hope is that his next move is to find what he can do to get Pettersson going.
Once Pettersson gets going, this season is going to start getting very interesting.
For now, Boeser has scored in every game that Bruce Boudreau has coached behind the Canucks’ bench. It’s a great start and we will see if Boeser can continue to build confidence under Boudreau and be the top-end NHL scorer that he has shown potential to become.